"LS Secretariat showed undue haste..." All India Bar body chief on Rahul Gandhi's disqualification
The All India Bar Association (AIBA) on Sunday said the House Secretariat has shown undue haste and committed an error while taking a decision on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha.
The All India Bar Association (AIBA) on Sunday said the House Secretariat has shown undue haste and committed an error while taking a decision on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha. "The decision was taken without referring the matter to the President of India under Article 103 as per the Constitution of India and the opportunity of being heard was also not provided to Rahul Gandhi," AIBA said.
However, the bar association welcomed the Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate Court's verdict in the case as it underlines the constitutional right concerning the right to speech. "The order against Rahul Gandhi merely underscores the importance of liberty to speak, but with responsibility," AIBA said.
In a statement, Dr Adish C Aggarwala, Senior Advocate and Chairman of AIBA said, " Fundamental Right to speech is not unfettered and the right has been tempered by restrictions. Every common man in general, political parties and public figures like Rahul Gandhi in particular, should be aware of that. If speeches are made with the restrictions and responsibilities in mind, it will save a lot of national resources." "AIBA, therefore, on this occasion, urges all political leaders and public figures to deliver speeches with a sense of responsibility without offending the cherished feelings of anyone," said Dr Aggarwala, who is former Vice Chairman of Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association.
"However, while the court has done its duty by following the Constitution and legal precedents, the Lok Sabha Secretariat should have followed the procedure specified under Article 103 of the Constitution instead of summarily issuing a disqualification notification within a day of the judgment," he said. Aggarwala said, "the Lok Sabha Secretariat had committed an error in disqualifying Rahul Gandhi from the membership of the Lok Sabha without referring the matter to the President of India under Article 103 of Constitution of India and opportunity of being heard was not provided to Rahul Gandhi."
"Hence, the notification of Lok Sabha Secretariat will not stand the scrutiny of a competent Court if this Notification is challenged by Rahul Gandhi," he added. Aggarwala said that even if the present notification is quashed by the Court, it should be borne in mind that the Lok Sabha Secretariat is empowered to issue a show cause notice to Rahul Gandhi and then the matter be referred to President of India and the President of India, after obtaining opinion of the Election Commission shall act according to such opinion.
"Article 103 which requires the matter of disqualification to be referred for the decision to the President of India and the President of India shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission of India and shall act according to such opinion and the decision of the President of India shall be final," he said. "AIBA feels that it is a fit case for Lok Sabha Secretariat to rescind Rahul Gandhi's disqualification notification and instead to follow the time-tested conditional principles of routing it through the President of India for further action," "Aggarwala said.
The AIBA respectfully points to the fact that the issue concerning the conviction and disqualification of Rahul Gandhi involves three constitutional limbs and issues, which are, the judiciary, in this case, the subordinate judiciary; the Lok Sabha Secretariate which represents the Parliament itself; and right to free speech and the restrictions therein," he added. Rahul Gandhi, on Friday, was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha, a day after a Surat court sentenced him to two-year imprisonment in a defamation case filed against him over his 'Modi surname' remark.
The decision came pertaining to his remark made in April 2019, where he had said "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" at a Lok Sabha election rally at Kolar in Karnataka. The court approved Gandhi's bail on a surety and stayed the sentence for 30 days to allow him to approach the higher courts. (ANI)
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